Dec 072017
Youth leaders Ivy & Oliver

Youth leaders Ivy & Oliver

Dear friends,

The dynamic coming to life this year of the RAFIKI YOUTH GROUP in Chepkanga location is our main pride & joy. It’s two leaders, Ivy and Oliver, have managed to register 30-40 motivated friends. They outlined their mission, their goals in an offfical Charter and registered as a non-profit with the Eldoret municipality. They intent to bring environemental awareness to the chldren of the area. They were given a small road side plot by the area chief to start a nursery. They are being advised in irrigation and marketing techniques by last year’s star graduate. Their seedling sales will bring the neeed cash flow for their Club activities.

Our two schools, the vocational training center in Chepkanga and the Technical Training Institute in Koshin have both reached new heights. We close the year after a shortened academic year due to an unusually extended electoral process. This did not stop our school Boards from meeting nor did it prevent the governments, both local and national, to endow the schools with new equipment.

Chepkanga is a vocational training center with Catering as it’s flagship course; Koshin stands out with a state of the art Electrical and Electronic course. Both schools have active headmasters, fully motivated to have their school reach the best levels for their students. They have chat groups with peer centers to share ideas and best practices.

We are very encouraged by what we have seen during our trips this year. We are also setting our sights on February 2018 with the official opening of Koshin TTI and the inauguration the newest BENINA builiding.

Thanks a million to all of you who encourage the rural youth to seek a more productive life. Best wishes for the New Year.


Youth Group meeting with Elizabeth & Claire

Mandasi doughnuts prepared by students

Mandasi doughnuts prepared by students

Claire, Principal & staff – Koshin school

Mentor Edwin & Claire - Chepkanga school

Mentor Edwin & Claire – Chepkanga school

Koshin site visit with Architect & foreman

Koshin site visit with Architect & foreman

Sep 112017

Sergoek graduates with Diplomas

Dear Rafiki, dear friends,

Our first vocational school, the SERGOEK campus, has been rising to new heights:

– The school was selected to become an examination center for the district thus increasing it’s visibility and role in the area – New equipment was provided by the local governement bringing stores, closets & computer desks to the classrooms         – The catering students proudly displayed their culinary know how to the delight of the community on graduation day

The school will be expanding soon and we are presently raising funds for the women’s dorm and bathrooms.

Our second vocational school, the KOSHIN campus, has become very active:

– The principal started registering the first students for the recently opened electrical department

– The school held an official ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new computer center

– The latest bulding under construction with a Multipurpose Hall is raising it’s roof on large trusses at the present time.

We expect that this higher level institution will be taking off very fast as the novelty has a large appeal.

We are moving. We are active! Students have school uniforms and Tshirts, they are playing sports and graduating with new skills. Our brand new equiment and the improvements look amazing.

There is still a lot to be done. Thank you for so much for your support that means so much to us all, in France and in rural Kenya! We wouldn’t be where we are today without you. Kweli! (really!)



Sergoek’s new computer desks

Sergoek - young caterers display goods

Sergoek – young caterers display goods

Koshin principal & guests testing new equipment

Koshin principal & guests testing new equipment


Koshin’s happy government sponsor

Koshin: a roof for Wing IV in quadrangle

Koshin: a roof for Wing IV in quadrangle

Jun 122017

Container arriving in Koshin


Dear Friends,

These last days & months have been busier than ever on the ground in Koshin:

– A huge generator, the size of a room, was delivered to the school on March 28, 2017

– 2 huge trucks with containers with electrical equipment have arrived from the port of Mombasa on May 15, 2017

– Power and lighting has been connected to the institution for the very first time on June 4, 2017 !

– The equipment for the elctrical workshop took 5 days last week to assemble & install

– The teacher’s desk is now installed, complete with projector, desktop computer and accessories

– Seedilings were delivered and planting along the hedges of the compound was done earlier this month too

– The last building of the quadrangle with 2 classrooms & a multipurpose hall has now reached the ringbeam level

– The stage of the multipurpose hall is already built

– Recruitment of teachers is being conducted by the principal


We are overjoyed to see our school become a reality. Our combined efforts, energy and generosity has borne it’s fruits. Students will now be able to access this learning institution soon.

We are grateful to the Kenyan Goverment for furnishing and running the school; we admire the ceaseless energy of the Rafiki Ya maisha community and our friends in Kenya for pulling it all together; we thank all of our donors for beliving in our project and for their generosity. It is all flourishing in full view now! We couldn’t have done this without anyone of you!

Team work is our strength and daily joy. You encourage us to pursue this until every workshp is equiped and the school is brimming with students. Come and visit soon!

Claire Mathijsen

Rafiki team & school staff with arrivals


Training desks in electrical workshop

A fully equipped desk


New generator being unloaded

Mar 162017
Rafiki tournament T-shirts in French colors

Rafiki tournament T-shirts in French colors

Dear Friends,

There is much going on this spring in Chepkanga.

A Rafiki Ya Maisha Youth Group emerged from a handful of highly motivated university students who want to bring change to their community. Encouraged by the energetic presence of Agatha F., our young volunteer from France, a youth charter was drawn up and a Board nominated. These young people decided to call a meeting with the village elders, the community leaders and the school principals of the Vocational Training schools that Rafiki Ya Maisha has been sponsoring. They read their charter, discussed their action plan and sollicited the goodwill from the older members. All present pledged to help these youths intent on convincing their peers to lead creative and productive lives. The top ambition of the group is to create a Talent Center for the Youth in Chepkanga.

The reason for this awareness grew from an observation and a growing concern. Twenty years ago, there was ONE bar in Chepkanga. Over the past five years, that number has exploded to 12 and as a result, the number of young alcooholics has risen drastically.

A volley ball and football tournament was organized and presented a great occasion to meet and promote ideas. Rafiki Ya Maisha T-shirts were designed and drinks offered to a large gathering of 250-300 young people from the area. The principals of both schools announced that registration was open and that government loans were accessible.

At KTTI, the Benina building foundations were dry and sofar, the construction looks like a promising new addition to the campus. Several meetings took place with the architect, the contractor and an officer from the Ministry of Works. The new Board of Governors gathered for meetings during my February visit. We spend 2 days in a seminar learning about our new duties and responsibilities as members of the BOG of the fledgling Institute.

We are very excited about this dynamic Youth Group in Rafiki Ya Maisha’s heart – aren’t you proud of them too?

THANK YOU ALL for your support in this adventure,

Claire Mathijsen

Youth group writing their charter with Agathe

Town Hall meeting - Youth and Community

Town Hall meeting – Youth and Community


Happy Youth Group with Agatha, French volunteer

Dec 202016

Front view – future Benina Building

Dear Friends,


This year has been full and exciting: an Ambassor’s visit, inaugurations, a star student & a 1st prize, a new clock tower, a new Principal, prostpective students, goverment support and of course, a strong & motivated Rafiki Ya Maisha Kenya team. Now, we are ending this quarter with the biggest news of all …..we are breaking ground at Koshin again!

KTTI is scheduled to open officially next February and in the meantime, we have sourced funding for the largest building of the school. This building is the fourth and last of the central quadrangle: it contains two full classrooms and will be completed with a multipurpose hall that can seat 320-350 people.

This building – the future Benina Building – for the name of the Foundation which has sponsored the project, is designed to hold assemblies, graduations, exam sessions and conferences. In the future, it will house shows, plays, concerts and performances by the students of the planned Talent Center.

Our local architect has drawn up wonderful plans: see & admire the facsimile of the future building below.

Thank you all for your support and your interest which is making this school come more alive than ever! Our generous land donor, Margaret K. visited us in Paris. Please do the same and return the favor. We hope some of you will be able to join us next year in Eldoret, either for the official opening taking place mid-February 2017 or for a fall visit later in the year when the school is fully operational and the weather is on the dry & sunny side.

Thank you my friends – without you this project would be no fun and we certainly would not have gotten this far!

All the very best,



Rear View – closing the quadrangle


Claire & Margaret on Champs Elysees, Paris